Congress Analytical Essay

Congress is renowned for being “unproductive.” Using the article by Dodd, the text, and lectures explain how you would make Congress more “productive” especially in setting coherent non-incremental national policy/programs. Whatever mechanism you create make sure it is representative and responsive to the public.

Be sure to include in your essay the internal mechanism you will use to introduce, debate and vote on a bill. Your improvements should address Dodd’s comments on the failings of the committee structure in the lecture notes and the section on “How a Law Goes Through Congress.”

In addition you can address the election system’s shortfalls (gerrymandering, the winner-takes-all system, terms, the diversity of the members, campaign financing etc.). However, these items are secondary to the internal mechanism you design.

From Lecture Notes-
Congress and Quest for Power (Dodd)

Congresspersons motivated by a “personal quest for power” and legitimize and rationalize their exercise of personal power by reelection

The Committee Structure in each House is designed to give Congresspersons the opportunity to exercise personal power; it is NOT designed for efficiency, nor is it representative in national policymaking

The Career Stages of a Congressperson are:

1.Shoring up reelection chances through constituent casework and serving on housekeeping committees in Congress (paying your dues)
2.Serving on key policymaking committees, hopefully, have some policy connection to their district or State
3.Serving on power committees (examples are: the Ways and Means and the Rules Committee in the HoR; or the Armed Services, Budget/Finance, or Appropriations Committees in either House)
4.Securing a Party Leadership position in either House: Speaker, Majority/Minority Leader(s), Whips etc.